Betty Baby-Sits Steve

Betty recalls that she babysat for Tad and Steve, but only sometimes. Lee and Wally also babysat when they were around and Mother [Virginia] did not go out much in the evenings. In those days, Daddy [Taylor] was in Navy and away a lot and Mother didn’t drive.

And yes, Tad was a “very naughty little boy.” When I asked if he was mischievous or simply rebellious because she bossed him around, Betty pointed out that it was Lee who was the bossy one. “We called her ‘The Sergeant,’ she said, “because she’d tell you what to do and what not to do. There was never any ‘please.’”

It was the neighbor lady from way up the street, whose name Betty cannot remember, that saw her pushing the baby in the stroller and asked if he were her child. I asked if she were old enough for the lady to actually wonder this or if she was playing along. Betty said she was probably only a ten-year-old girl at the time, so the lady would have been playing with her.

The night Steve’s teeth went back up into his head, she wasn’t actually babysitting. Mother [Virginia] was upstairs and she was carrying him upstairs to find her. He was probably 2 years old at the time, not really a baby. She had no shoes on. “The slippers went out from under me and down we went,” she said. It took a while for his teeth to come back down. And then it took a while for him to get his second teeth.

story as recalled by Betty in a conversation with Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), November 13, 2013

Betty frequently baby-sat the younger children, pushing Steve in the perambulator. One day a lady stopped to admire “the baby,” and asked Betty, “Are these your children?” Betty was tickled pink.

When Steve was less 2 years old (~1941), Betty was carrying him up the stairs and dropped him. His two front teeth shoved back up into his gums, though they came down again eventually, slightly discolored and separated. Steve thinks the separation had to do with sucking his thumb, however. 

partial story as recalled by Steve and Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), November 6, 2013

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Aunt Betty, what do you recall of these two stories? Did we get the gist of it right? What can you add?
  • Did you like babysitting the younger children? How did you come to be the one to pull kid-brother duty?
  • What other stories of Betty babysitting can you tell? 
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